Sale : All The Tastes! (part one)
This sale started as a simple bitters-for-Spring idea, but it quickly blossomed into much more. Doing inventory before breakfast is like shopping on an empty stomach- everything looks delicious!
We’ll start with sweet, since modern society seems to be obsessed with this taste. We crave sweetness because it is a ready source of quick energy in the form of carbohydrates, and that craving is driven by chemical responses in the brain that mirror those of drug addiction. Our brains consume huge amounts of glucose, and we need it for proper mental and emotional function.
Sweetness is welcome and comforting, something Ayurvedic medicine understood long ago, teaching that herbs which are sweet are drawn into the body more deeply because they are so welcomed at the deepest levels. Ayurveda has a great tradition of sweetened medicines, especially Chyawanprash, a medicinal jam made with tonic herbs and honey. Many herbs have a sweet taste on their own, and, like honey and sweetness in general, these herbs tend to have very balanced tonic properties.
Licorice is the sweetest of the herbs we work with, with a distinctive flavour which is familiar to most people, if not loved by all. In TCM, Licorice is used to balance formulas, both in taste and medicinal effect. It is a non-specific tonic to the immune and endocrine systems, and heals imbalances in many different directions.
Licorice is a moisturizing respiratory tonic, soothing and healing to the digestive tract, and acts in an anti-inflammatory way similar to corticosteroids, but with far fewer side effects. Our Licorice Essence is a strong expression of all of this root’s healing properties, and we find it especially useful during transitional weather and seasonal changes.
Astragalus is another sweet, rooty immune tonic used in Chinese medicine, where it is often cooked like a vegetable in chicken stock. When any of our human or animal family is feeling run down, I make chicken and astragalus soup, which tastes wonderful and is a great rejuvenative.
Our Astragalus Essence is an excellent immune tonic, balanced enough for long-term use to strengthen the “we Qi” energy that protects us from invasion by illness and imbalance. It’s intelligent effects on the immune system make it useful for both deficiencies and excesses, and it is also an adaptogen and energy tonic.
Another sweet root, this one from the Ayurvedic tradition, is Sugandi. Its name means “fragrant” and it is used as both medicine and incense. Emotionally, it is used to clarify the mind and bring a calm state of peaceful focus in waking and dreamwork.
As a tonic, Sugandi is similar to Licorice and Sarsaparilla, acting as an anti-inflammatory and immuno-modulator, useful for infections and auto-immune disorders. Our Initiatic of Sugandi carries a serene quality of clarity, and it smells and tastes amazing, like sweet powdery flowers or root beer and honey.
Approached as a medicinal art, we can find healing wisdom in cooking, and in many cuisines, sour is the companion to sweet, each balancing and complementing the other. Sour is an easy taste to find in food, but less so in our stockroom- perhaps something we need to work on!
Triphala is the classic sour Ayurvedic tonic, and it is also made into a medicinal paste with a sweet-and-sour taste. Triphala is actually three herbs- “triphala” means “three fruits”- the seeds haritaki and bibitaki, along with amla, a fruit that gives the mixture a sour taste. Together, Triphala is a balanced tonic for all three Doshas, or body types.
As in edible fruits, sour taste in medicinal herbs often indicates vitamin c, and Amla is very high in this nutrient. Our Essence of Triphala is quite sour, but also rich and nutty tasting, and with its vitamin content, is a good immune support and rebuilder to all body tissues. It has a special affinity for digestive balance, correcting it in either direction so that all nutrients can be better absorbed and utilized.
Polygala root is a more obscure tonic herb from China, where it is called “will strengthener”. It is used as a tonic to the Shen energy of the heart, especially to support life changes which are positive, but difficult, and which may cause disruption and unease.
Our Polygala Spiritualized Essence is not sedative, but it is conducive to calm states of rest and sleep, while also being clarifying to the mind and helpful to the manifestation of ideas. It is intensely sour and dry/rooty tasting, and even its taste starts the process of centering focus that it is so useful for.
Salty is another candidate for tastes that modern culture gets too much of. Once so rare it was used as payment for Roman soldiers (hence the word sal-ary), it is now as ubiquitous as sugar, and in its refined form, equally unhealthy.
Salt’s taste comes from sodium, but salty flavours can also be found in many other minerals, and since our bodies need to consume small but regular amounts of many minerals, we still crave the taste, even when we’re not deficient in it.
When we think of salt, we think of the sea, and seaweeds are concentrated sources of sea minerals. This makes them important additions to our increasingly demineralized land-based diet, and unique subjects for our Spagyric processing, which is uniquely able to extract minerals in usable forms.
Our Grapestone Seaweed Spiritualized Essence tastes briny and sharp from its high potassium and iodine content, and it is also high in polysaccharides like those found in ginseng, medicinal mushrooms, and other tonic herbs.
Grapestone’s array of nutrients makes it an excellent anti-viral, as it is able to directly prevent viruses from attacking our body’s cells. It is especially active against herpes and HIV, but has also shown benefit for fungal and bacterial infections.
Red Clover is a land-based plant, and so its mineral content is dependent on the state of the soil where it grows. But, this deep-rooted legume makes the absolute most of that soil, seeking out nutrients from deep in the earth and bringing them to the surface, making it a valuable cover crop.
Our Red Clover Essence tastes minerally and green, and it’s a good tonic to mineral balance in the body, bringing more where needed and detoxifying and removing excess minerals, especially in the joints. It is especially high in magnesium, and we have a few customers who use it for its calming and blood pressure lowering effects.
Our final salt and mineral tonic herb is not an herb at all, although it once was many herbs, and is now a mineral. Confused?
Shilajit is a mineral resin or pitch that forms on the rock faces of the Himalayas, where it has been used as a Rasayana, or rejuvenative, for millennia. It is composed of long-ago plant life that grew on the mountains, died, and was broken down and worked through the soil and out through the rocks. As such, it is an excellent source of minerals that have been processed by living plants and then concentrated back into dense soil levels.
Our Shilajit Spiritualized Essence tastes earthy, salty, funky, and very intensively mineralized, and it is very high in iron. The Spagyric’s incense-like notes come from its content of benzoic acid, a purifying aromatic compound also found in Frankincense, Myrrh, Guggul, and other plant resins and gums. Energetically, this Spiritualized Essence really brings the quality of the “soul of the mountain”, as the resin is said to be.
Our Tastes sale continues in part two with bitter and pungent- click here to read more!